Prime Minister awards Sheffield policemen who tackled knife-man

Heroes: PCs Matthew Duffy, left, and Mark Adams receive their award from Prime Minister David Cameron.  Picture: Peter Simpson Photography

Heroes: PCs Matthew Duffy, left, and Mark Adams receive their award from Prime Minister David Cameron. Picture: Peter Simpson Photography

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TWO South Yorkshire Police officers who tackled a knife-wielding mentally ill dad have been honoured for their bravery at a national awards ceremony.

PCs Matthew Duffy and Mark Adams were presented with their award by Prime Minister David Cameron, who described the country’s most courageous cops as ‘the envy of the world’.

A total of 59 officers were honoured at the ceremony for the bravery shown in incidents up and down the country.

The Prime Minister said they had put their ‘lives on the line’ for the country.

Congratulating the officers, he said: “What you have done is incredible - you have confronted burglars with pistols, taken on offenders with knives, interrupted armed robberies and saved lives in house fires.

“It proves that, here in Britain, we have a model for policing that is the envy of the world.”

South Yorkshire’s two brave bobbies sprung into action in the early hours of June 8, 2009, when former bus driver Abderrahim El-Harti was spotted wandering barefoot along Queens Road, Sheffield, brandishing a carving knife.

The married father-of-two, who was 41 and from Albert Road, Heeley, was wearing white Islamic dress and chanting ‘Allah’ loudly as he listened to prayers on his MP3 player with a carving knife raised at shoulder-height like a dagger.

He was said to have been in a trance-like state and there were fears for his safety and that of the public.

He fought off nine police officers, a police dog, numerous baton blows to the body and the effects of two cans of CS gas before officers were able to restrain and disarm him.

During the struggle El-Harti struck out at the police – stabbing PC Duffy in his chest twice.

He only survived his ordeal because he was wearing a stab vest.

PC Mark Adams, a dog handler, was also stabbed when he was caught by the knife on his hand.

El-Harti was found not guilty at Sheffield Crown Court of the attempted murder of a police officer due to insanity.

He was given a long-term hospital order.

South Yorkshire Police said after the trial the incident had been ‘terrifying’ for all the officers who had stepped in to arrest El-Harti to protect the public.

They were described as a ‘credit to the force.’

The awards were organised by the Police Federation.

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